By Senior producer
msnbc.com
updated 4/20/2005 4:20:37 PM ET 2005-04-20T20:20:37

5 p.m. ET

Watching a chimney hasn't been this exciting since the days when I believed in Santa Claus.

Just before noon today, smoke began to billow out of the pipe atop the Sistine Chapel.  I will admit that we had absolutely no clue whether it was white or black.  Vatican Radio announced it was black, but the crowds on St. Peter's Square were cheering like it was New Year's Eve.  Our anchors, like those on every other network, vamped about the power of the moment, the three previous votes, the meanings of white and black smoke, whether or not smoking is bad for you...anything until we were sure.

And then at 12:04 Eastern Time the bells rang.  It was emotional and beautiful, a great moment to be in a live control room.

Today at 5 p.m., a look at Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, known to the world this afternoon as Pope Benedict XVI.  He was John Paul II's right hand man and a strict interpreter of doctrine.  All the experts agree that he will not take the Church far off the course set by his predecessor.  Is that a good thing?  We'll discuss.

We would love to include your thoughts on this historic day.  Send them to us and we may share them on the air.

12 p.m. ET

There was a grocery store at the corner of my street that sold only organic products.  Soy cheeses, free range poultry: basically tree bark in a bag. 

I am far from the organic type. Doritos and Haagen Dazs are just fine by me, but this was the only grocery nearby so I had no choice.

The store was littered with people brandishing their reusable canvas bags and refusing plastic wrap for their coleslaw. Marsupial moms carrying infants in slings. Men with rubber bands around the hems of their suit pants, as they just got off the bicycle they road to and from the office. Yuck.  Luckily it closed.

But I know some people are into that stuff, and I respect it. There is a growing controversy surrounding what exactly constitutes "organic" food and deserves that label.  We'll bring you the debate today.

And they are still lowering the boom on "The Hammer."  Tom Delay sent a letter to his constituents in Texas basically accusing the Democrats of playing politics simply because he is an effective legislature.  Is he right?  Susan Molinari and Julian Epstein will discuss it on the show.

On this tenth anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, we'll also bring you a look at hate groups on the Internet.

Join us, and send us your thoughts!

E-mail me at TMaciulis@MSNBC.com.

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